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Onslow hurricane shelters operating at less capacity this season

Emergency officials are recommending making plans to shelter at home or to evacuate altogether this year, if possible.
Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 7:53 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - In the eye of the storm of the coronavirus pandemic, emergency officials in Onslow County are keeping their eye on a different storm. The county’s four hurricane shelters will operate under limited capacity this season, per orders from Governor Cooper’s office.

“At some point, the threat from the hurricane is going to be greater than the threat of having that certain congregate mass group shelter,” said Onslow County Emergency Services Deputy Director Stacie Miles.

Because of the limited capacities, officials are asking the public to make their hurricane plans earlier this year than ever before. They also strongly recommend the public to shelter in place or to evacuate altogether, and not to rely on hurricane shelters if they can.

“We want to make sure that those that are really in need of that shelter are able to access that,” said Onslow County Social Services Deputy Director Campbell Fletcher. “We have individuals in the community that may not have alternatives other families or support networks.”

Because of the shelters’ limited capacity, emergency officials are planning on the possibility of having to open at least some of their several back-up shelters. They are also recommending people include coronavirus safety materials like masks and sanitizing wipes in their hurricane prep kits.

“We really want the citizens to try to be better prepared in case we do start running into space issues,” said Miles.

For a list of hurricane shelters and additional information about storm safety, visit the Onslow County Emergency Services page here.

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